This question posed a problem for me. Is it a movie that makes me happy whenever I watch it? Or is it a movie that makes me happy because it simply exists? If it’s the latter, then it probably is every good comic book movie made (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Spiderman 2, X2, Thor). It makes me happy that comic properties are being taken seriously, both artistically and commercially. I never for the life of me thought I would see a legit version of Batman on screen, or the X-men or Thor for that matter. And with X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America looming on the horizon, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am.
Now, if it’s a movie that makes me happy when I watch it, that’s an entirely different question. There are a few movies off hand that I can list as always making me smile when I watch them. Some of them just remind me of my childhood before life got so damn complicated. The Princess Bride is one of these movies. So are The Goonies and The Monster Squad. Other movies make me smile just because of the overall feel of the movie. Grumpier Old Men still cracks me up to this day, even with some of the sadder moments.
But in the spirit of this list, I wanted to pick one that I felt was different in the way it portrayed real world problems with humor and some truly touching moments. I first saw Little Miss Sunshine a few years ago. I wasn’t expecting much since I was growing weary of Steve Carrell and never really liked Greg Kinnear. But I love Alan Arkin and Toni Collette so I gave it a chance. What I found was a movie that showed you that no matter how shitty things can get, your family (no matter how f–ked up it is) has your back. Maybe you don’t have the ideal family situation. The idea of family is relative anyways. Maybe you have your own personal demons to fight. We all do. Little Miss Sunshine lays it all on the table: death, drug abuse, suicide, marital problems, whatever…but does it in a way that makes it seem like everything will be alright as long as you stick together. Sh– happens, you just need to roll with it. Play the hand you’re dealt.
Beautifully shot with an amazing soundtrack, Little Miss Sunshine always makes me smile.
“So Proust gets down to the end of his life. And he looks back and decides that all those years he suffered, those were the best years of his life, because they made him who he was. All those years he was happy? You know, total waste. Didn’t learn a thing.”